June 18, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) Stevie Wonder, Cody Simpson and Avril Lavigne are some of the stars who will perform during next month's opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games, organizers announced Thursday.

The July 25 ceremony will also feature appearances by actress Eva Longoria, comedian Jimmy Kimmel and athletes Yao Ming and Michael Phelps in a ceremony created by the production company that crafted the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in London and Sochi.

Lavigne is planning to perform her song ''Fly'' publicly for the first time at the ceremony, which will be held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The ceremony, to be broadcast on ESPN, will also feature performances by Colombian reggaeton artist J. Balvin and former Pussycat Dolls frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger.

The ceremony will include elements familiar to other Olympic opening ceremonies, such as a parade of athletes and torch-lighting ceremony.

This year's Special Olympics World Games features 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities competing in a variety of sporting events. It is the first time the World Games have been hosted in the United States since 1999, and organizers say it is expected to draw 60,000 spectators.

''I am touched to be a part of this celebration of determination, courage, joy and skill,'' Wonder wrote in a statement. ''Throughout my own journey of overcoming the odds, it's truly an inspiring moment to join these incredible athletes as they come to Los Angeles to compete and accomplish so many victories.''

Tickets to the opening ceremony range from $30 to $120, but there is no charge for competition events being held during the games, which will be located around Los Angeles between July 25 and Aug. 2.

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Online:

Special Olympics World Games: http://www.la2015.org/

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